This is a stream of consciousness about Beyoncé’s politics and the trajectory of her career that I posted onto my facebook and tweeted on twitter so it is not written in the style that I normally would use to create an article. I chose to edit minimally because I want to just leave my raw process of this discussion here.
So, I finally sat back and took another listen to “Formation” x Beyoncé and I realized that I was so caught up in my stan essence, that I really was giving it more than it deserved. This whole thing was a typical Beyoncé style release – her visuals tell a story and really articulate a powerful meaning but the song, not so much. I was like “OH THIS A BLACK ANTHEM” but if you really listen, it ain’t! bahahahahaha But I live for her strategically choosing to intertwine politics in her art through the visuals… the music video, the dancers dressed as black panthers, etc.
BUT, I will say this. Even though it ain’t all that deep like we think, I believe there is still HUGE impact. The fact that she is being black as fuck in her delivery is resistance. The fact that she speaks about loving her baby’s hair in it’s natural state and the negro essence of Jay’s nose is resistance. The fact that she had policemen have their hands up in front of a black boy in her video is resistance. The fact that she showed a wall stating “stop shooting us” is resistance. All of this shit is important!
However, a friend of mine made me really examine the hype around these visuals. And when you think about it, this ain’t deep lol. That’s the same stuff we’ve been discussing, right? That’s common sense stuff. But when you have a huge mega star who has infiltrated and worked the capitalist system and has such a close proximity to whiteness include this in her art, people go crazy. And as a Beyoncé stan, I’m impressed as this is like, so new for her. But I have to step back and say, damn. She still problematic as fuck, right? She still thrives off of a system that’s killing me. But she’s trying.
And so I’m sitting here wondering – how can I hold space for her as she’s working through her own politicization? Because I feel like she’s becoming more and more aware and she wants to speak out and mobilize but doesn’t really know how to most effectively. I think that she’s been so trained and built through capitalism and the white gaze that she has NO idea how to envision her success, survival, or community engagement outside of these forces. I think maybe she’s struggling and this was definitely a great start and she now is realizing that she can use her platform to really do some work. But let’s not inflate the shit she does that’s in general, very basic, just because she’s Beyoncé. I love folks being critical but I also want folks to love one another and hold space for growth.
So I’m waiting for my girl to really push through with her black ass and fight for ME and US. Because at this point, “Formation” was a huge fight for HER black ass, her baby’s black ass, her husband’s black nose, and her autonomy with a sprinkle of community movement stuff throughout. I know my girl can come through harder. I know she has potential to. But I’m not going to overly pump her up orrrrrr criticize her because capitalism and anti blackness has been all she’s known since birth tbh. So I’m letting her work on developing and pushing through.
Folks were judging her for her “basic take on feminism” when her last album came out but I was so proud like a momma! She is finally coming out of those shackles. If you really analyze the trajectory of her career closely, you can see her slow awakening dating all the way back to “I Am..” when she discussed her alter egos. She became aware of the fact that she was putting on a show for these white folk and she started showing her true side and making music for herself. From this awakening, she really started to become less and less like the Bey that was bred in Destiny’s Child and during her early career and more like the Bey she decided she wanted to be. And we judged her, man. Said she was trying to hard. Said she was fake. We never hold space! This woman wanted so hard to embrace her blackness and no longer be so close to the white ideal. She was figuring it out. And we judged her. But she kept going. She got more and more sexualized (because black women’s sexuality is demonized and we LACK A SEXUAL POLITIC) as resistance and started just being ratchet as fuck, which I am so here for!
So yes, there is SO MUCH to critique, right? But we gotta think about Beyoncé as a black femme exploited and trained to work through this system. She don’t know no better and I would much rather love her through her process than constantly critique every single move she makes. Now, I have no problem with dragging when necessary but I would never discredit this woman. I love her dearly. As an idol. As a black femme. As a sister. And we should love her too. She’s still fucking with capitalism and talking about working hard for paper etc. and yes that’s an issue but I have faith that in due time she will come to.
OR MAYBE SHE WON’T lololol and that’s okay. We need to stop being so caught up in the celebrity culture anyway. A celebrity like Bey is a celebrity because of her ability to pander to white folk and be packaged for them. So of course she doesn’t represent us at all. But we can help feed her more knowledge and hope that she will one day wake up.
I still pop this ass to “Formation” though! My bitch came throughhhhhhhhh!! So readddyyyyy for this era!